Kayla Schulz

Kayla Schultz

12th grade – Academy for Arts, Science, & Technology

She was nominated by her teacher, Catherine DeSimone.

Kayla Schultz is a great student who has been able to achieve academic success even during adversity in her life.  Kayla’s mother and father split when she was in middle school and mom moved with her younger brother across the country.  Kayla was living with her father but he passed away suddenly this summer due to a heart attack.  Kayla’s grandmother has become her guardian but due to her age, Kayla is often her caretaker.  Kayla is majoring in digital communication as well as challenging herself by taking AP Art.  She currently has A’s in her classes and is interning with a real estate firm.  She hopes to combine her love for art/graphic design with real estate as a career. 

James “Terrell” Mishoe

12th grade – Academy for Technology and Academics

He was nominated by his school counselor, Romulus McNeill. 

Written by Terrell:  Growing up in my family, I always felt incomplete.  It was a very difficult time for me. The earliest I can remember as being difficult was at the age of four. Simply comprehending and remembering what was being taught such as painting, reading, riddles, and songs was difficult for me. I recall long nights asking my mom what was wrong with me and why I couldn’t understand. I came to the conclusion that maybe homeschooling was the way to go. By the age of five, I was being homeschooled by my mom five days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  For the first few weeks, life was great: family time 24/7 along with work at home.  Reading, spelling, and writing were always a struggle for me. As the weeks passed, I found myself doing less and less homework.  I began to fall behind. Suddenly, everything stopped including the work and nothing was being completed. As years started to go by, the struggles of life hit.  I was growing up, not in school, and just helping take of care of the family. Transitioning to a new home without my family was a hard process. The first day at Sevier Middle School was horrible. Not having all the knowledge as the other kids made me feel unwanted, incomplete, sad, and discouraged. Trying to regain my mental strength after the harsh treatment from my peers, I began to grow. By the time one month passed, I had already moved again to Conway, South Carolina. There, I had to repeat eighth grade through an agreement at Blackwater Middle School. This was not an easy task. Taking sixth grade classes in eighth grade was embarrassing as I was still dealing with the pressure of my peers. I began to seek help through the RBHS (Rehabilitative Behavioral Health Services) program and outside counseling. When I found myself excelling in school, I began to become happier and peaceful. As I made my transition to Conway High School, I still struggled horribly with reading, writing, and spelling. I barely passed middle school and entered Conway High School with poor social skills and struggling academically. I was referred back into the RBHS program. Although I tried to stay away from people, I still dealt with harsh treatment from my peers. Having a different family was life changing, but having the support, love, and attention I needed has helped me in more ways than I can even describe. As time went by, I didn’t let my past get the best of me. With the help of others, I excelled. Sophomore year, I was voted sophomore representative of the school. With a hard work ethic, leadership and working three times as hard academically, I saw my ability to read, write, and comprehend increase.  Not having the prior knowledge as my peers was truly damaging to my mental state, but I progressed. As I transitioned from Conway High to the Academy for Technology & Academics, I faced more challenges as a junior studying Culinary Arts and taking regular classes. I was voted top chef and hardest worker of 2017 and gained my Management ServSafe certification, with a scholarship to ICI. Although my educational background was a struggle, I continue to excel to greater accomplishments. I’m currently in twelfth grade, was just voted senior student council representative of Culinary Arts 2018 and will compete in the Prostart competition. Five months from graduation, I feel great. Traveling this long road, I’ve turned my weaknesses into strengths, and I will continue to excel.

Terrell Mishoe
Gracie Pipkin

Gracie Pipkin

5th grade – Aynor Elementary

She was nominated by her school counselor, Hanna Smith.    

Gracie Pipkin is a hardworking, loving, persevering, and thoughtful student who doesn’t let her many challenges faced in life stop her from being the best person that she can be.  In September 2012, her uncle, Joshua Pipkin, was in an automobile accident leaving him paralyzed from his neck down.  This left her grandmother to care for him.  Gracie was very close to her uncle and cherished his hugs.  This was the start to a spiraling rollercoaster of events for her.  Gracie’s mom was in and out of her life due to incarceration and other life events, leaving her being raised by her grandmother, Gail Pipkin.  While her mom was not always present, Gracie loved her mom and knew that her mom loved her.  On January 17, 2014, Mrs. Gail Pipkin knew that something wasn’t right when she had not heard from Gracie’s mom, Angie.  About a week later it was confirmed that her mom was missing; however, several months later, after much pain, misery, and many searches, Angie’s torso was found dismembered in the river.  To this day, this is the only body part that was found of her mother’s.  This was a very traumatic event for Gracie and her family.  Then, in April of 2017, Gracie’s great-grandfather passed away after a heart attack while fishing.  Throughout these experiences, Gracie maintained good grades, Honor Roll, good behavior, and was a model student in her class.  She cooperates well with others and always puts forth her best effort.  For this reason, I nominate Gracie as our HTC REEL Kid for this year. 

Jacy Trimble

12th grade – Aynor High

She was nominated by her coach, Michelle Altman.

Jacy Trimble has been a leader in the classroom and on the volleyball and the soccer fields.  She has been an All-Region selection for both sports.  Her teams have elected her captain.  Jacy has overcome a father with a drug problem that led to prison time when she was younger.  Jacy is a delight to all that know her. 

Jacy Trimble
Haylee Johnson

Haylee Johnson

8th grade – Aynor Middle

She was nominated by her teacher, Matthew Speer. 

Aynor Middle School would like to nominate Haylee Jane Johnson as our 2017-18 Reel Kid. Haylee is a hard working student and athlete that shows the ability to bounce back in the face of tragedy. Over the years, she has experienced more than her fair share of the hardships and realities of life. When she was six-years-old, she lost her father to a drug overdose. More recently her mother has been battling cancer for the past few years. The medical costs have put a financial strain on the family and resulting in instability in their living situation. At times, she has dealt with the stress and uncertainty if she was going to be living in the same place next month. During the summer, she took a job cleaning condos to help with the family finances. We have noted that Haylee has not let her hardship experiences turn her bitter and indifferent. She continues to be bright and work hard for the future. She is taking honors level classes and participating in sports all without the advantages others might take for granted. She is maturing confidently and a role model for all of us on perseverance, staying positive and overcoming life’s obstacles. 

Shane Shelly

8th grade – Black Water Middle

He was nominated by his teacher, Phil Reeser. 

Last year, Shane Shelly suffered the loss of his beloved father and the loss of his Aunt one month later.  He went through a tough time, missed school, grades dropped, and made some poor choices.  Shane turned things around, brought his grades up and is a leader in chorus.  He is very social and is always pleasant and courteous.  He is a great young man. 

Shane Shelly
Trey Smith

Atreyu “Trey” Smith

4th grade – Burgess Elementary

He was nominated by his teacher, Kelley Alford.

Atreyu “Trey” Smith was in a horrific car accident the summer after his first grade year at school.  He broke many bones, was in a coma, and suffered traumatic brain damage as a result of the accident.  He had to relearn how to do everything again like walking and talking, etc.  Trey is now in the 4th grade at Burgess and has met every challenge, mentally and physically, with perseverance and grace.  Not only has he overcome many obstacles, but has also done so while being an example of leadership to his peers.  In addition, he has reached out to the community that helped save him and has shown appreciation through an event at the fire station.  He works hard to be better every day, while being happy and positive.  He likes to make jokes to make friends laugh and is respectful to everyone.  He is definitely an example of extraordinary leadership. 

Jayden Lomas

2nd grade – Carolina Forest Elementary

He was nominated by his teacher, Sarah Steed.

Carolina Forest Elementary is proud to nominate Jayden “JJ” Lomas, a second grader, as our 2017-2018 HTC REEL Kid.  He suffered from a pediatric stroke at birth, which went undiagnosed for eight months despite being treated by 15 different neurology doctors at the beginning of his life.  As a result, JJ has a form of cerebral palsy called hemiplegia of the right side.  His parents were faced with a diagnosis that included, he would never walk, talk {due to the location of the clot in his brain}, have the usage of his right side and even suffer with cognitive capabilities.  However, through years of therapies and his strong willed determinations, JJ is now walking, can run with a slight limp, and is beginning to have more confidence in using his right hand.  He LOVES sports, especially baseball.  He uses baseball as a way to get rid of the stress and uncertainty that comes with his disability.  He first started playing baseball in a local league when he was four and continues to play on a local travel ball team where he already competes at a higher Kid Pitch level. He amazes everyone who watches him play by being the true definition of a “south paw.”  Jayden’s contagious laugh and amazing spirit is a sliver of the walking miracle that he truly is. He continuously puts a smile on everyone’s face everywhere he goes by showing the world how he “breaks the mold” with his perseverance over his disability and his determination to show nothing will stop him, from fulfilling all his dreams!

Jayden Lomas
Caitlin Carey

Caitlin Carey

12th grade – Carolina Forest High

She was nominated by her teacher, Katlyn Carroll.    

Strength, fearless, and determination are just a few of the words that come to my mind when I think of Caitlin Carey.  In 2014, she went from having a very normal, upbeat, childhood; to having her world completely turned upside down and struggling to make it through each day.  A sudden illness took Caitlin’s teenage years away from her.  While she was ultimately diagnosed with Dysautonomia (or dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system) and Mast Cell Activation Disorder, Caitlin suffered for three years from pain that was so debilitating that she could not function.  Her whole body would be in pain and her own mother was not even able to hug her, because the touch of anything on her skin burned.  There were many times during these episodes that she would experience, what we now know, as anoxic seizures, where her brain was not getting enough blood. She would often get these non-epileptic seizures 5-6 times per day. She would vomit every time she tried to eat and suffered from horrible brain fog. She lost the ability to write, and used a wheelchair or walker to move around.  Despite every odd against her, she never gave up.  She had to stop attending regular school every day and be on home bound.  She continued to preserve through every horrific painful attack and kept up with her schooling.  There were many days that I would go over there as her home bound instructor (and friend), and was just absolutely amazed at the strength that this young lady showed.  She would have an attack and an hour later want to at least attempt her school work.  Even during these attacks her brilliancy showed through and while there were many times brain fog would make it more difficult, she still proved how intellectually gifted she was.  She even won 2nd place in a state-wide writing, high school level contest for her columns in her school newspaper!  In addition to her homebound education, Caitlin and her mom teamed up to create a home-based, handmade soap and natural bath product company, “Blue Iris Naturals.” It was an expression of Caitlin’s creativity and a way to focus on something positive while she tried to get her health back.  The Iris flower is a symbol of hope, love and faith, which is what got Caitlin and her mom through this horrible experience.  One thing that Caitlin is grateful about these days, besides regaining some of her health back, is being able to return to school again. With the help of the right specialists, proper medication, physical therapy, and a lot of determination, Caitlin is now is a senior at Carolina Forest High School and needs only one class to graduate. She’s currently taking college courses online while also attending CFHS part-time. She plans to attend Coastal Carolina University next year to pursue a Master of Education in their “More in Four” program and dreams of becoming a high school English teacher and eventually a college professor.  During the time that I was providing her homebound instruction, I myself went through a tragic loss.  Despite everything that she was going through daily, she was more concerned about me some days than herself.  She exemplified maturity far beyond her years and a strength that does not exist in most adults.  There could not, in my eyes, be a more perfect recipient for this award.  I am honored to have been Caitlin’s homebound teacher and to continue to be her friend.

Alaina Huggins

Kindergarten – Conway Elementary

She was nominated by her teacher, Nicole Springs.    

Alaina Huggins experienced a significant stroke at birth resulting in partial paralysis among other developmental delays.  She has many challenges to face on a daily basis, but no matter the challenge, she always wears a smile and has such a positive spirit that can’t be denied. 

Alaina Huggins
Vraj Patel

Vraj Patel

8th grade – Conway Middle

He was nominated by his teacher, Alexandra Deremer. 

Adversity affects everyone differently.  Indeed it is not only the challenges one faces which foster growth, but it is also the response to those trials and tribulations that truly define character.  When one continually and consistently overcomes obstacle in the most positive and productive way, a leader is created.  Vraj Patel, a current eighth grade student at Conway Middle School, is an example of adversity forming a leader.  I have had the pleasure of working with Vraj during the 2016-2017 school year as his special education teacher.  The passion and drive for learning that Vraj possessed and exhibited on a daily basis is unparalleled.  Vraj came to school every day with an eagerness to improve.  He continually posed questions of inquiry and understanding.  In every class, Vraj encouraged others to grow.  He supported his peers both academically and socially.  There was not a time in school where Vraj would not raise his hand or offer friendship and advice to another.  Last year, he would report to me weekly, if not daily, on his successes and goals.  He took meticulous notes on everything he worked on inside and outside of school.  He would face small disappointments and setbacks, but his positivity would help guide him.  Vraj, born in India, faces daily challenges that most students do not encounter.  However, his effort and professionalism surpass the average eighth grade student.  Vraj’s passion for education and learning is an excellent example of why many educators continue to teach.  He is truly a REEL Kid of Conway Middle.

Alita DeSantis

2nd grade – Daisy Elementary

She was nominated by her teacher, Whitney Pierce. 

Alita DeSantis has recently been adopted by a teacher at her school.  She was in and out of foster homes for years, came to Daisy, and stayed with a foster parent in kindergarten and 1st grade.  She worked hard throughout the years, began the reading program, developed a bond with a teacher and the teacher started the process of adoption that was completed this year.  She has continued to grow and progress academically and socially. 

Alita DeSantis
Ruby Wilson

Ruby Wilson

12th grade – Early College High

She was nominated by her teacher, Martina McKoy.    

Ruby Wilson is a senior at Early College High School.  She has experienced more hardship in her 18 years than many of her peers, as well as adults.  In September 2000, Ruby’s father passed away.  Then, in February 2009, Ruby’s mother passed away, leaving her without a guardian.  Shortly before her mother’s passing, Ruby found out that she had a much older sister on her father’s side.  That sister took her in and became her guardian, even though she had other children to raise.  There have been financial and other hardships at home but through it all, Ruby has maintained A’s and B’s while in high school and currently has a 4.44 GPA.  She continues to be a leader in the classroom, encouraging her peers to strive for better and achieve more.  Ruby also participates in school and other activities, as well as community service projects.  One such project that Ruby has embraced is assisting the homeless through the Street Reach organization.  She enjoys visiting with reading to elderly individuals and has participated in other service activities and clubs throughout high school.  Recently, circumstances in the household where she lived with her sister have changed and Ruby is now living on her own with roommates.  Although she is a high school student, she is also a full-time college student at HGTC and is doing the best she can to support herself financially.   Living without both parents is quite difficult for adults and even more difficult for a child, adolescent, or teenager.  However, Ruby made the decision that she was going to remain positive and her circumstances, continuing to strive for excellence in all that she does.  She is admired by the students, staff, and teachers for all that she has accomplished in the face of adversity and certainly embodies what an HTC REEL Kid is all about. 

Antony Ramos-Ramos

5th grade – Forestbrook Elementary

He was nominated by his school counselor, Linda Puckett. 

Forestbrook Elementary School is happy to nominate Antony Ramos-Ramos as our HTC REEL Kid.  Born in Honduras and arriving at Forestbrook in first grade, Antony is a true school and community leader. As a result of his tremendous effort, he is an honor roll student as well as an encourager for others, often telling them “good job” for their successes. Antony is especially sensitive to the needs of other students in the Hispanic community.  He is quick to gather school supplies and backpacks for those in need and he always makes sure those coordinating our school’s Angel Tree know when someone needs to be “on the list.”  He was so proud when his mother and aunt began English classes and of course, made sure they had needed supplies! When asked what has made him the person he is today, his answer was, “the teachers at this school.”  Antony’s smile and spirit are contagious and we could not be prouder of who he is today.

Antony Ramos
Sueldo Malelli

Sueldo Malelli

7th grade – Forestbrook Middle

He was nominated by his school counselor, Mallie Baker. 

Sueldo Malelli is a 7th grade student at Forestbrook Middle School who just moved here this year from Albania. When I first met Sueldo he was at the school with his family to register for classes. At this time, he knew no English and was nervous about starting school in a new country. He left everything he knew back in Albania and was now tasked with starting over in a place where he knew no one other than his family. Through his time here he has blossomed, is learning English at a rapid pace and is always helping his classmates who are struggling. In his EL class he typically finishes his work early and always wants to help his fellow students understand and complete their work. He is a friend to all that meet him and has kept a positive attitude through all of the recent changes in his life. When I spoke to his teachers about a potential nomination for him they were overjoyed and agreed that no student could possibly deserve this recognition more.

River Skeen

4th grade – Green Sea Floyds Elementary

He was nominated by his school counselor, Jessica Lewis.

River Skeen is an exceptional young man who has proven himself to be dedicated to his academics and extracurricular activities. His mother, Katie Skeen, was killed in August 2017 as a result of a robbery at CresCom bank in Conway. He continues to play football, participate in chorus, technology teams and be a positive figure for his peers even though he is still currently dealing with the recent traumatic loss of his mother. I have always noticed his smile and sweet personality among his peers and my fellow colleagues. Although he is currently mourning his mother, his attitude and love shine through him. He is a true inspiration of what a HTC Reel Kid exemplifies. He has risen to make the best of his circumstance and I am both proud and honored to nominate him.

River Skeen
Tyler Buffkin

Tyler Buffkin

11th grade – Green Sea Floyds High

He was nominated by his teacher, Alissa Watts.    

In October 2016, Tyler Buffkin’s home was severely damaged by flood waters that resulted from Hurricane Matthew.  During the difficult days, Tyler was a source of strength and inspiration for his family and community.  Over the last year, Tyler has helped in the demolishing, cleaning up and rebuilding efforts.  Tyler did not allow the devastation to negatively affect his school work, attendance, or athletic commitments.

While going through these trials, Tyler felt called to serve in the foreign mission field.  In October 2017, Tyler was part of a mission team that served in Chimaltenango, Guatemala at Agua Viva Children’s Home and School.  He assisted in building repairs and ground maintenance at the campus.  He also assisted the children at the home with Bible study and activities.  Tyler spent much of his free time playing and socializing with the children in order to build a personal connection with them.  It was an experience that will shape his future.  He has already verbally committed to return next year with the team if the opportunity is available.

Through all the loss, trials, and challenges the last year has brought with it, Tyler has remained positive and determined to serve his family, community, and others in foreign lands.  He is an inspiration and leader to those around him!

Halie Chavis

8th grade – Green Sea Floyds Middle

She was nominated by her school counselor, Katelyn Diana. 

Halie Chavis is a great student and represents Green Sea Floyds Middle very well.  She is well liked by her classmates and by her teachers.  She has great grades and is always smiling.  Halie’s mom was killed and Halie and her relatives stayed very strong throughout the trial.  She has overcome a great deal and continues to strive in her academics and cheerleading. 

Halie Chavis
Ra'Shawn Hastings

Ra’Shawn Hastings

4th grade – Homewood Elementary

He was nominated by his teacher, Jessica Kresse.    

Ra’Shawn Hastings has proven himself to be a leader through scholastic achievement continuing to meet and strive towards completing his goals and using lots of hard work and dedication to learn and overcome his challenges in the classroom.  Ra’Shawn is a friend to everyone.  He always has a kind smile and shares his positivity making him a leader among our school community. 

McKinley Ray

4th grade – Kingston Elementary

He was nominated by his school counselor, Martina Moore. 

McKinley Ray was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 over Christmas Break last school year at the age of nine.  Although this illness frequently creates obstacles in his very active lifestyle, McKinley has embraced his new diagnosis with great determination and acceptance.  In less than one year since being diagnosed with this very complex disease, McKinley has gone from being unfamiliar with diabetes to becoming a very active and competent participant in the monitoring and treatment of his illness.  He has never used his new diagnosis as a crutch.  Instead, he has chosen to gracefully accept his required lifestyle changes with confidence and self-respect and has never allowed diabetes to hinder his sweet spirit. McKinley is a hard working student who has not let his disease hinder or effect his work ethic in any way. He works hard in class despite of how he may feel. This year he tests his own blood sugar without any interruption in his or anyone else’s class routine. When he interacts with others he never uses his disease as excuse to get out of doing anything. Since the onset of his disease, he has never let it interfere with his work or any aspect of his school career. I am so proud of him and how he has handled being diagnosed with diabetes. He was a model student before and continues to be even in the face of dealing with his disease.  Not only does McKinley display leadership skills at school, but he also perseveres through daily obstacles at home. Learning to deal with diabetes in playing sports has definitely been his biggest challenge in the last year. He has to stop and treat a high or a low level often when playing. But he teaches his teammates about diabetes as he checks and treats his blood sugar quickly from the sidelines and gets back out there! He plays organized soccer, tackle football, flag football, and baseball. Last year he was also on the Dolphins swim team in NMB and made the all-star team for his baseball league. I am proud of his resilience and determination to “keep on keeping on!”

McKinley Ray
Braxton Linsky

Braxton Linsky

1st grade – Lakewood Elementary

He was nominated by his teacher, Elaine Miller. 

Braxton Linsky was the victim of a serious dog attack late last summer.  He sustained significant bruising and bites and required a great deal of medical assistance.  Rather than let this experience negatively affect him, he is an outgoing, energetic boy who has a smile and word of encouragement for everyone.  His teacher says he gives his absolute best every day and is a fine student, both academically and in spirit. 

Maddie Milligan

3rd grade – Loris Elementary

She was nominated by her school counselor, Willette Spann. 

Maddie Milligan is a great girl!  Despite losing her father last year, she continues to work hard in school.  Throughout this difficult time for her family, she has kept a positive attitude.  Maddie always follows our school motto of being respectful, responsible, and ready. 

Madeline Milligan
Bailey Dunmire

Bailey Dunmire

12th grade – Loris High

She was nominated by her teacher, Ginger Thompson. 

Bailey Dunmire is an exceptional member of the Loris High School Class of 2018 who has overcome many obstacles to achieve her dreams. She works diligently every day, not only to make herself a better person but also to be an encouragement to others. She has a special ability to motivate others to learn more and do their best in class. She is a major motivating factor in many students’ success. Bailey has not had the easiest life. At a young age, she was exposed to the harsh reality of dealing with an alcoholic mother and all of the hardships that entails for a young child. Having to deal with the consequences of her mother’s alcoholism and subsequent choices, Bailey developed anxiety and depression.  Ultimately, her father was able to remove her from the toxic situation, and they moved to Horry County for her tenth-grade year. While here, Bailey has worked hard to maintain good grades despite her circumstances from the past. Last year, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease which has increased her anxiety and depression. She has to fight with memory loss, numbness, tingling in her extremities, and increased anxiety/depression, but through it all, she has not allowed these struggles and obstacles to deter her from her goals.  

Again, despite her obstacles, Bailey is definitely a leader in our school. She is actively involved in HOSA, maintains a cumulative 3.66 GPA, and is a constant source of encouragement to many students and teachers alike. She always encourages others by helping them study and giving them creative ways to remember the information from class. I, for one, am truly going to miss Bailey and her contagious, positive attitude when she graduates in June.

Lizzie Sarvis

8th grade – Loris Middle

She was nominated by her teacher, Sarah Holt. 

Lizzie Sarvis is very helpful and a hard worker in class.  I have taught her for the past three years.  Even though she lives with her grandmother and is facing other obstacles in life, she comes to school every day with a smile on her face ready to work hard and give her best.    

Lizzie Sarvis
Kendall Dixon, Jr.

Kendall “KJ” Dixon, Jr.

3rd grade – Midland Elementary

He was nominated by his assistant principal, Anna Howell.    

Kendall “K.J.” Dixon, Jr., is eight-years-old and will celebrate his birthday on March 20th. Kendall is currently a 3rd grader and attends Midland Elementary.  Kendall’s teachers are Mrs. Tammy Todd and Mrs. Michelle Rabon.  Kendall lives in the Cool Springs Community of Aynor with his dad, Kendall Dixon, Sr. Kendall has two older brothers Tre and Jalen who also attended Midland Elementary. Two days after Kendall was born, doctors discovered Kendall had a heart defect.  Kendal was immediately flown via helicopter to MUSC Charleston from McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence.  Kendal remained in the neonatal intensive care unit for several days until he was sent home before surgery was scheduled a month later.  Approximately a month later, doctors performed successful open heart surgery to repair Kendall’s heart valves and also a hole located in his heart. Kendal visits the cardiologist annually and receives good reports concerning his heart. Kendal does not allow his heart condition to slow him down and he has kept his parents on their toes trying to keep up with his high energy level.  When Kendal was six-years-old his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2015. Kendall’s mother had to endure Chemotherapy treatments and Kendall witnessed the toll it took on her. Kendal would always make positive comments to cheer his mother up and remained cheerful during this difficult time.  Kendall’s mother passed away during his summer break in July of 2015.  Kendall continues to be strong and remain a happy child even after enduring these circumstances.  Kendall makes good grades and made the A-B honor roll for the first semester of this school year.  Kendall is a part of the challenging gifted and talented math and language arts program. Kendall’s favorite subject is math, and he wishes to one day attend Clemson University like his older brother and uncle once did.  Kendall wants to follow in the footsteps of his dad and one day be a deputy sheriff.  Kendall displays leadership qualities and an example of his leadership is assisting his 6 year old cousin on and off the school bus, and ensuring she gets to her classroom.  Kendall’s hobbies include playing games and watching videos on his iPad.  Kendall loves to play Minecraft on his Nintendo Wii and games on his computer.  Despite the circumstances Kendall remains a happy and upbeat child.  He maintains a positive outlook on life and is excited to represent Midland Elementary as this year’s HTC REEL Kid nominee.

Malachi Hemingway

2nd grade – Myrtle Beach Elementary

He was nominated by his teacher, Alicia Difloure.

On March 13, 2016, Malachi Hemingway lost his mother to illness.  The past year has been tough to bear but he has overcome the challenge.  In March 2017 his older two brothers went to live with their father.  This made him very lonely not having them around.  Overall he has faced his challenges. 

Malachi Hemingway
Max Ferguson

Max Ferguson

12th grade – Myrtle Beach High

He was nominated by his school counselor, Krista Campione. 

I first met Max this year as a new counselor.  He was instantly a joy to be around and work with; I am not sure if I have ever seen Max with a negative attitude.  His optimism and humor are contagious and I have met few students as considerate and thoughtful of others.  About two years ago, Max lost his mother and, until her recent passing, was living with, and helping care for, his grandmother.  Despite continued setback, family addictions, and now having to take full responsibility for himself, Max continues to show remarkable strength, initiative, and desire to further his education and achieve the goals he has set for himself.  Regardless of circumstances, Max has shown himself as a man of true integrity, resilience, and character, and has proven that circumstances, while challenging, can also be a source of strength.  During his time at Myrtle Beach High, Max has maintained an honors level track and is excited to pursue a career in nursing upon graduation.

Audrey Maslanka

Myrtle Beach Intermediate- Audrey Maslanka-5th grade

She was nominated by her school counselor, Charlisa Dowling.

Written by Audrey:  My mom and dad do not live together anymore.  It’s hard for me because I love both of them very much.  I was accepted into the gifted and talented program this year.  I do struggle a little but when I sing and relax, it makes me feel better. 

Audrey Maslanka
Timothy Brown

Timothy Brown

6th grade – Myrtle Beach Middle

He was nominated by his teacher, Lindsay Wyatt.

At the end of last school year, Timothy Brown was shot in the left eye with a pellet gun.  After spending time in the hospital, Timothy was sent home to recover while receiving homebased instruction to finish out the year.  Throughout this time, he maintained good enough grades to qualify for honors math in 6th grade.  This year, Timothy started school with some anxiety as many of the kids had not seen him since he suffered extensive damage to his eye.  While some kids took some time to adjust, Timothy was motivated to stay focused on his school work and always has a positive attitude.  I believe that Timothy would be a wonderful nomination for the HTC REEL Kids award. 

Logan Chadwick

1st grade – Myrtle Beach Primary

He was nominated by his teacher, Mary Rooney.

Logan Chadwick began at Myrtle Beach Primary in our special education preschool program.  He was in a self-contained classroom in kindergarten.  Because of his great work ethic, he has caught up to his peers and is now in a first grade classroom.  Although he continues to struggle with an articulation disorder, he does not hesitate to participate in discussions and does not worry about not being understood.  He politely repeats himself until his message is successfully understood by others. 

Logan Chadwick
Manuel Ramos Mazariego

Manuel Ramos Mazariego

12th grade – North Myrtle Beach High

He was nominated by his teacher, Alex Reed.

It is an honor to nominate Manuel Ramos-Mazariego for the HTC Recognizing Extraordinary Examples of Leadership award. He is the most deserving student I know.

Manuel is a high school student who arrived to the United States in 2014. Since the time he arrived in this country, he has been working his hardest, using his time wisely to make the most out of his opportunities. In less than two years, Manuel learned English fluently and quickly exited the English as a Second Language Program. He has completely exceled here, earning a 4.0 and being part of the National Honor Society. Manuel continues to encourage other English language learners, by donating his time after school to help tutor those falling behind. He also helps to give welcome tours to new students at North Myrtle Beach High School. The most remarkable part of Manuel’s success is that he is able to accomplish so much while being here alone and financially supporting himself. He works 40 hours a week on top of being a full-time student. How he manages working full-time, while also being an accomplished academic is beyond me. Despite all of Manuel’s hardships, he remains positive and hopeful. Manuel gives light to all who cross his path. He reminds all of the faculty and student body here at North Myrtle Beach High School just how far a student with a good attitude, strong work ethic, and compassionate heart can go. I would be thrilled to see Manuel recognized for all of his efforts by receiving this award. Through the interview process, it will be clear to you just how amazing this young gentlemen truly is. That being said, I whole-heartedly recommend Manuel for the HTC REEL Kids Award.

Kylie Monahan

8th grade – North Myrtle Beach Middle

She was nominated by her teacher, Lori Ruggieri. 

Kylie Monahan was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss at age eight.  She is completely deaf in her right ear and had a moderate hearing loss in her left ear.  Her hearing loss is progressive in nature so she is expected to lose all of her hearing at some point.  She wears a hearing aid in her left ear and this past year received a cochlear implant in her right ear.   This implant was a big adjustment for her as she basically had to learn to hear again.  She also uses assistive technology in the classroom to help her hear her teachers’ lessons.  Kylie has not allowed her hearing loss stop her at all.  She excels in school and is taking honors classes.  She loves music and has performed songs with the chorus in sign language.  She is a member of the Jr. Beta Club and the Yearbook staff and plays on the JV Soccer team at North Myrtle Beach High School.  Kylie is intrinsically motivated and will overcome any obstacle in the classroom, on the soccer field or in life.  She is kind and loving and is incredibly hard-working.

Kylie Monahan
Kendyl Dellis

Kendyl Dellis

5th grade – Ocean Bay Elementary

She was nominated by her principal, Rebecca Schroyer.

Kendyl Dellis was diagnosed with pediatric thyroid cancer in 2014.  She had two major surgeries as well as several other procedures.  She travels to Houston several times a year.  Kendyl always picks up where she left off.  She is a hard worker who seeks success.  She want to learn every day.  She has such a kind heart and wants to help others.  She continues to make everyone feel included every day at school. 

Triniti Newman

7th grade – Ocean Bay Middle

She was nominated by her teacher, Charlyn Wright-Sealey.

When Triniti Newman was born she was not breathing for a couple of minutes but her parents thought all was ok initially.  At 21 months old, she was diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech (AOS), a neurological based disorder which affects the motor planning system in the brain.  Apraxia of Speech is an oral motor speech disorder affecting an individual’s ability to translate conscious speech plans into motor plans, which results in limited and difficult speech ability.  Individuals with AOS have difficulty connecting speech messages from the brain to the mouth.  At four-years-old, she was diagnosed with Arnold Chiari Malformation Type 1 which is where a person has structural defects in the cerebellum.  She still has a soft spot at the top of her skull to this day.  The part of the brain that controls balance is affected.  Triniti’s symptoms are: dizziness, muscle weakness, numbness, vision problems, severe headaches, and occasional problems with balance and coordination.  By the time she was eight-years-old, she was also diagnosed with ADHD and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder but her parents knew there was something else going on as well.  When she was 11-years-old, she was diagnosed with mild to moderate Autism along with Severe Sensory Disorder.  As a teacher, I see this amazing child who goes out of her way to help others.  She is kind, considerate, and extremely patient.  She is the most positive, cheerful child I have known in a long time.  When she was helping build our community garden for Science Club, she was working side by side with other students laughing and helping.  She is genuinely interested in making this world a better place.  When I found out about her disabilities, I was in disbelief to think that all these things have not stopped her from shining as the brightest star in our school.  Triniti is an amazing leader who encourages those around her.  She is a role model for all children. 

Triniti Newman
Jayden Ford

Jayden Ford

4th grade – Ocean Drive Elementary

He was nominated by his teacher, Katie Blanton.

Jayden Ford has faced many struggles throughout his life, and yet he continues to have a positive attitude. Last year, Jayden was suffering from multiple seizures a day at school. Because of this, he became homebound and had to miss out on many school activities and spending time with friends. Although Jayden knew he would not attend school for the remainder of his third grade year, he remained hopeful that he would eventually return for fourth grade. Jayden worked extremely hard academically to make sure he would not fall behind. Jayden has now returned to school for fourth grade with his class. Although he still suffers from having seizures occasionally, he has come up with a plan to try to help him stay at school. While at school, Jayden is always kind to others, and he shows the utmost respect to everyone. Because of all that he has been through, he never wants anyone to feel left out or mistreated and ensures that will never happen. Jayden is a great kid all around!  

Chase Patino

5th grade – Palmetto Bays Elementary

He was nominated by his teacher, Tim Cutnaw. 

Despite a tumultuous early childhood, growing up in a household in which both parents abused alcohol and at one time, each other, were charged with domestic violence, Chase Patino has largely overcome these early obstacles including a father who is currently incarcerated.  Since being in protective custody with his grandparents for the past eleven months, his fourth and fifth grade teachers say that Chase is gradually improving academically and often, completes his assigned tasks quickly then helps others complete their work.  Additionally, he has assumed a position of leadership among his peer group and encourages the other problematic children by saying, “stay on the right path.”  I am especially proud of his concern for others and his willingness to help.

Chase Patino
Jamiaah Livingston

Jamiaah Livingston

3rd grade – Pee Dee Elementary

She was nominated by her teacher, Ashlyn Perry.

Jamiaah Livingston is a very strong little lady.  She enjoys playing outside with friends and doing girly stuff such as painting nails and doing hair.  On August 3, 2015, things changed for Jamiaah forever.  She was hit in the right eye with a bungee cord.  She was rushed to MUSC for emergency surgery.  The doctors at MUSC were able to save the eyeball but not the vision.  Jamiaah has never let this stop her in doing anything that a regular kid can do.  As I recall, she never cried once.  I think I cried more than she did.  Every day is another step to improvement.  She goes to MUSC every three months to make sure that her eye is still healthy and strong.  We are looking into one more surgery in the next year.  Jamiaah can’t do certain things as playing outside without eye gear or swimming with her eye shell in.  She has had some struggle with school but she does not let that stop her.  She continues to do her best and that’s all I can ask for.  I always tell her that she can do anything that she puts her mind to.

Adaya McDowell

Kindergarten – River Oaks Elementary

She was nominated by her teacher, Beth Conn.

Adaya McDowell was a student in my kindergarten class last year. At the end of October, she became ill with a virus that caused her to go into cardiac arrest.  She coded two times before arriving at Grand Strand Hospital and was transferred to MUSC. She was then placed on a ventilator and so many things happened to her. She remained on a ventilator for two and a half weeks, and it wasn’t until December that doctors were able to successfully remove the vent.  The doctors were very puzzled by her case and were not able to give her family answers for months. Adaya was adopted from Ethiopia, and it took the doctors’ time to discover that she had a rare genetic condition.  After Adaya woke from her coma, the doctors found that she had lost most of her abilities. She would have to learn to walk, talk, feed herself, and go to the bathroom all over again, almost like she was an infant. I remember being on the phone conference with her doctors and overwhelmed with how many things she was going to have to overcome. At the same time, I was so thankful to hear the news because there were numerous times I wasn’t sure if she was going to make it.  Adaya was still the determined child she was before she became ill, and she started mastering the goals set for her. To our amazement, she made enough progress to return to school and “push-in” to our class (she is in the special education classroom for the remainder of the day).  Watching Adaya interact with her peers and overcome the many challenges she has faced is a true inspiration. Her smile and personality brightens up everyone’s day! She has equipment to assist her with walking, and she is in the process of learning how to use a speaking device. She is still continuing to make progress, and she is a true inspiration to all of us at River Oaks and our community. She has taught us all the value of perseverance, and she demonstrates that every day!

Adaya McDowell
Markese Bellamy

Markese Bellamy

4th grade – Riverside Elementary

He was nominated by his school counselor, Felecia Bellamy. 

Markese Bellamy has made a tremendous turn around as it pertains to behavior.  For the first time since the student entered Horry County Schools, he has received zero discipline referrals.  His record shows him as having a total of 28 discipline referrals, 13 of which were received last year at Riverside.  Markese has decided to make good choices this year and be a leader.  As a result, he has zero referrals for the 2017-18 school year.  Markese is currently passing all his classes and is making great gains on his MAP testing.  We are so proud of Markese!

Cole Davis

12th grade – Scholars Academy

He was nominated by his Program Administrator, Norman McQueen.

Cole Davis was born with a congenital heart defect and was operated on shortly after birth.  Cole has had several other procedures since that time and will be on medication for the remainder of his life.  Through it all, Cole has a bright outlook on life, has been an academic leader in Horry County Schools by attending the Scholars Academy and has been a great asset to our school. 

Cole Davis
Brady Jenkins

Brady Jenkins

3rd grade – Seaside Elementary

He was nominated by his school counselor, Nicole Ashton.

Brady Jenkins is an amazing child.  He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was four-years-old.  He spent several days in Charleston MUSC learning to manage diabetes and regaining his strength.  He is responsible and friendly.  He usually is a straight A student.  He enjoys golfing.  He manages his diabetes with food control and insulin.  He has learned the skill of doing self-injection shots supervised.  He says sometimes he wishes it would go away but is glad he has diabetes.  Brady says it makes him different from others therefore, it makes him special.  Brady has courage and determination to do the best he can every day understanding his body’s symptoms. 

Brenley Gulledge

Kindergarten – Socastee Elementary

She was nominated by her teacher, Debby Bullock. 

Brenley Gulledge was born on March 14, 2012 at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center.  Shortly after birth she was medevacked to MUSC and diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries and underwent her first open heart surgery at six days old.  She was placed on ECMO (a heart/lung bypass machine) and suffered a stroke soon after.  Brenley had her second open heart surgery at four- weeks-old for a leaky tricuspid valve and coarctation of the aorta.  She remained at MUSC for three months and after having a g-tube placed she was discharged to home.  Brenley has cerebral palsy.  She had surgery in May 2017 to lengthen her heel cord and was in a cast for two months.  Brenley was walking on her left leg and tip toes, but now is able to walk with her foot flat.  Brenley goes to OT/PT two times a week.  Brenley is such a sweetheart!  Although she has endured so much in her little life, she never allows it to get her down.  She is so positive and keeps a smile even though it is tough for her.  She is surprisingly independent and perseveres regardless of her handicap.  She is an amazing child!  She has been through so much but always give it her “all”!  She is not only an inspiration to her classmates, but a great inspiration to her teachers!  I am so proud of her efforts.  She has my heart!

Brenley Gulledge
Maggie Weaver

Maggie Weaver

11th grade – Socastee High

She was nominated by her school counselor, Margaret Adams.

Maggie Weaver had been a devoted gymnast since the age of three.  Gymnastics was her love and she was training 20 to 30 hours per week.  However, in the 8th grade she began to have tingling in her arms and intense neck and shoulder pain.  After a trip to the hospital, and several doctor visits, it was determined that Maggie had severe scoliosis.  She was also told she needed to end her gymnastics training.  This was devastating news to Maggie but she refused to let it get her down and she was determined to persevere through other activities and service to her community.   Throughout high school, Maggie has been a member of DECA, Junior Civitans, HOSA, and Mu Alpha Theta.  She has also dedicated many hours volunteering through homeless outreach projects.  And even though her gymnastics career had come to an end, Maggie refused to let the scoliosis take over her ability to remain active.  So, Maggie joined the Varsity Cross Country team and the Varsity Track team during her freshmen and sophomore year.  She competed in several events including the 4 X 8, the mile, and the 800.  And even though she was not one of the top runners, she continued to compete with tenacity and determination.  This season, Maggie is not able to run because she had surgery this summer at MUSC to correct the curvature in her spine.  She was in a halo for two months and she is currently in a neck brace until the middle of November.  She began her junior year on medical homebound but is now back in school and excelling in Honors courses.  She also ranks in the top 5% of her class.  When it came time for us to nominate a REEL kid to represent Socastee High School, Maggie was undoubtedly our number one selection.  Her infectious smile and positive attitude are reminders to all of us that even though our lives may take a different path than we had planned, it is how you handle the unexpected path that makes all the difference.

Tony Boatwright

6th grade – Socastee Middle

He was nominated by his teacher, Danielle Watson.

Tony Boatwright was born with muscular dystrophy and has been delayed since birth.  It never stopped him from keeping up with his sisters.  Even though he would fall a lot, he would get back up and keep going.  Now that walking and getting up and down is more of a challenge, he is determined to stay normal, “as he calls it,” like his peers.  He refuses to ask for help.  He wants to do it on his own.  Despite everything he is a very loving and caring little boy.  He is very grateful for all the help his peers offer.  He is very hopeful that one day they will find a cure for him so that one day he can run and play basketball with his friends.  He doesn’t like to see anyone hurt.  He will be the first to comfort you.  He will help anyway he can.  He makes people smile with the little simple things he does.  Tony gives a whole new meaning to determination.  He is so brave.  He wakes up with a smile and pushes on every day.  With no hesitation, he fights every day to remain walking and never complains or feels sorry for himself.  He is an example of bravery with a huge heart.    

Tony Boatwright
Jayme Barriera

Jayme Barriera

5th grade – South Conway Elementary

He was nominated by his school counselor, Bernetta Sanders.

It is my pleasure to nominate 5th grader, Jayme Barriera, on behalf of South Conway Elementary School to be our 2017-2018 HTC REEL KID. Jayme is an outstanding 5th grader at South Conway Elementary.  The purpose of this letter is to provide my strongest endorsement to the HTC REEL KID application of Jayme Barriera.  When his mother was pregnant with him, she was diagnosed with lupus and she had to make various trips back and forth to numerous doctor visits. When Jayme reached the age of six-months-old, his mother and father decided to go their separate ways and split. At that time Jayme, his mother and two older sisters moved to New Jersey. Over time Jayme’s mother became ill and her sickness began to take a toll on her. Eventually after a year of living in New Jersey, his mother had to make one of the biggest decisions of her life and that was to relocate her children to South Carolina and live with their father. His mother often traveled the interstate back and forth from New Jersey to South Carolina to visit them and spend time with all of her children. Throughout this challenging time transition, Jayme remained a happy child, managed to maintain good grades in school and always kept a smile on his face.  When Jayme began 3rd grade, his mother then relocated down to South Carolina and offered their children to come back to New Jersey with her or remain in South Carolina.  Jayme decided to remain here. Even though he missed his mother, he enjoyed living with his father and grandmother and made the decision to stay due to the friendships that he had made at school.  At school, Jayme is one of the most compassionate students that I have worked with. At home he creates a loving atmosphere and enjoys assisting his mom when needed after she makes frequent chemo visits to the doctor.  Jayme will always lay beside his mom and comfort her, bring her something to drink, assist with household duties, and even rub her on the back to make sure that she is ok.  Not many kids would provide that much attention to a parent such as Jayme and his mother’s bond. On hot summer days away from school, Jayme’s mother is not able to take him to the beach, pool or even as far as the park due to the effects of her diagnosis. His response is always, “It’s okay, mom, I don’t want you to get sick.” It breaks his mother’s heart, but the love and understanding is more than a bond to be broken and she is a proud mother.  As for the classroom setting, Jayme is a student that is a pleasure to have in the classroom. This school year he has grown daily with motivation as his teacher has watched him develop.  He is a conscientious reader that enjoys reading. His teacher often finds him reading different books during spare time. He is motivated and is often the first student to complete the required reading assignments.  In addition, he clearly comprehends his reading as evidenced by his ability to answer questions with complete accuracy.  Jayme sticks out in the classroom because of his enthusiasm for learning.  His school attendance has been exceptional, and he has consistently been prepared for class upon arrival. He appreciates learning new material and easily adapts to changes in the classroom instruction. On occasions, Jayme has been observed helping other students with understanding the subject matter in his classroom setting and showing great teamwork.  Jayme is also a reporter on the “Tiger News Network, which is the school new show where he shows great leadership and enthusiasm. In his spare time, he enjoys video games, drawing, telling jokes and playing with his friends.  In retrospect, Jayme is the complete package of a HTC REEL KID. He is motivated to learn at all times. Jayme is and intelligent, hardworking, funny, respectable and compassionate with others. He constantly works harder than his peers to excel in his academics. His efforts have been outstanding and I strongly urge your favorite consideration of his application and acceptance for a strong recommendation as a HTC REEL KID.  This 5th grader is always dependable and shows great leadership.

Andrew Hazelton

4th grade – St. James Elementary

He was nominated by his teacher, Lynn Quinn. 

Andrew Hazelton was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala on March 31, 2007.  His parents, John and Shannon Hazelton, knew early on in their marriage that they wanted to be parents but had decided on adoption.  They knew there was a boy in the world that needed parents and they needed him to be their son.  Because they wanted a boy they intentionally decided to adopt from Guatemala.  It was a scary time to adopt.  The US State Department had issued a warning against adopting from Guatemala a week after the Hazelton’s applied.  The Guatemalan government was extremely corrupt. It was the deadliest year in Guatemala- over 7,000 murders occurred.  Adoptions were shut down, entrapping 5,000 children in the depraved orphanages.  With help from the corrupt government agencies, babies were stolen from orphanages and sold into human trafficking.  The Hazelton’s proceeded knowing their son was in need and they were determined to make him theirs.  In April of 2007 the Hazelton’s flew to Guatemala City and met Andrew for the first time.  He was only 19 days old, but the moment they saw him they knew he was their son.  They were able to take care of him for several days before releasing him back to the orphanage.  Because of the turmoil in Guatemala City, the Hazeltons were told they may never get their little boy.   After six months of working with an attorney and negotiations with the government, The Hazeltons got the call that Andrew would finally be theirs forever!  Soon after coming to the US, Andrew’s parents noticed he was malnourished and was at the 25% for his age.  He would eat until he made himself vomit, hoard food in his hands and was never satiated.  His parents placed him on an eating schedule and he eventually reached the 50% or his age (and remains there).  At a year old, his mom noticed he wasn’t talking- or even babbling and was not making eye contact.  She knew in her heart something was not right.  She contacted Baby Net to get services but he did not qualify.  While his parents continued to reach out for services, they eventually tried placing him in several daycares which was disastrous.  It went as far as Mrs. Hazelton receiving a phone call from another parent telling her to remove her child from one of the half day programs he attended.  As he got older, Andrew seemed to be lost.  He did not speak.  He had problems interacting with other children.  His mother would set up “play dates” but Andrew preferred to play alone.  He had terrible tantrums that lasted for hours.  He had fits of rage in which he flailed his body around, kicking and screaming, hitting and punching, throwing anything that would get in his way.  Finally at 2 ½ Andrew received services from Baby Net and his parents hired two speech therapists to work with him- but still felt he needed more.

The Hazeltons took Andrew to the international adoption clinic at MUSC when he was 3.  The doctors were uncertain of his diagnosis.  He seemed to relate and test well in a clinical setting.  At 3 Baby Net services discontinued and the Hazeltons continued private speech therapy services.  At nearly 3 ½ Andrew was diagnosed with PDD- NOS- or high functioning autism and for the first time, his parents felt hope that he would overcome his difficulties.  After receiving the diagnosis Andrew began working with ABA, OT, speech and behavioral therapists, both outside and in the home.  Because of the schedule he was taken out of preschool.  His parents reported that he barely had time to sleep.  Andrew exhibited quirky tendencies.  He would not take baths or wanted to get wet at all- water- any type scared him.  He hated any and all transitions.  He never wanted to leave the house.  He had severe digestive issues.  But, with all of his difficulties, Andrew was empathetic.  He could read faces and gestures and model behavior.  He began to speak quite well and show others that he was in fact quite intelligent.  Andrew attended Building Futures Autism School for one year until he was four and a half years old.  His tantrums were better, his interpersonal communication and social interactions improved, he learned to take baths, and enjoy the water!  His transitions improved as did his overall development.  His parents tried to enroll him in preschool again and were turned down by several schools.  The Hazeltons finally found The Learning Tree and they were willing to work with Andrew.  The Learning Tree was a wonderfully amazing experience.  Andrew started developing friendships that he still has today.  He was potty-trained and his digestive issues improved.  His communication and social skills improved dramatically.  He began learning and growing at a rapid speed.  Andrew’s preschool teacher had a child with PDD and was able to help the Hazeltons learn about IEPs and school transfers, encouraging them to apply for a transfer to Horry County Schools- which they did.  Andrew enrolled at St. James Elementary for kindergarten.  As fate would have it, his teacher happened to be one of the preschool teachers at The Learning Tree.  Kindergarten was a very difficult and trying year.  Some of Andrew’s previous behaviors emerged and he was extremely challenging to say the least.  Mrs. Hazelton referred to his teacher as “Grace under pressure”. With each New Year, Andrew made more and more social and academic strides thanks to the hard work and dedication from his parents and teachers.  His first grade teacher’s fondest memory was of a field trip to Wonder Works.  She was not sure if he would even go…but he surprised her by having the time of his life AND climbing the ropes course with her.  In third grade Andrew stood on stage and led the Pledge of Allegiance during awards ceremony with standing room only.  Fast forward to today… Andrew is a cub scout.  He takes piano lessons.  He attends St. James’ after school program and has been a part of many afterschool clubs.  He has friends.  He is funny.  He’ll laugh at (and get) your jokes.  He is super smart. He had met expectations for all of his grade 3 SC Ready Assessments and scores above the 75% on MAP- where Reading and Language are a strength!  Oh, and – he has a smile that’ll melt your heart!  Andrew’s parents are in a situation where they could have sent him to a private school for his elementary school years rather than pay for out of district tuition.   The Hazeltons plan was for Andrew to continue through St. James schools and graduate as a “shark.” However, this plan has changed.  In addition to celebrating Andrew’s successes at St. James Elementary, we are excited to announce his acceptance into Low Country Preparatory School in the fall.  Congratulations, Andrew!  We are beyond proud of you!

Andrew Hazelton
Trajan Jones

Trajan “Tray” Jones

12th grade – St. James High- Trajan “Tray” Jones

He was nominated by his school counselor, Shannon Long. 

Trajan “Tray” Jones is a senior at St. James High School for the 2017-18 school year.  Trajan came to St. James three years ago.  When he first came to the school, he struggled with some behavioral concerns that resulted in some disciplinary consequences and time spent at the alternative school.  Trajan quickly learned that the alternative school was not the place for him and was not going to contribute to his success.  Trajan regained his focus and improved his grades and earned his credits by working hard.  He even pursued online courses over the summer to obtain the necessary credits to be a senior this year and graduate on time.  Trajan is well liked among the school community and faculty.  He is always inquiring on how he can better himself and how he can implement his plans for the future.  As of right now, his plans after graduation are to go into the military.  Trajan has been able to be successful all the meanwhile being involved with DSS and placed at a group home instead of going home to a loving and supportive family every night.  For three years, Trajan has come to school and gone home from school to a group home where he shares a living space with 27 other males.  He has limited resources and does not receive the same kind of love and support as a student who goes home to a family every night.  Trajan had to learn how to be independent.  Also while being placed in the group home and separated from family and friends Trajan learned that one of his close friends had been killed, however he did not let this information discourage his success.  Trajan comes to school every day with a smile on his face and he does not complain.  He will come say hello to the faculty and staff of the school and always exhibits excellent manners.  Most students who are involved with DSS have trouble maintaining their credits and grades in high school and very rarely graduate on time.  While many would see these things as an obstacle to their success Trajan has been able to make it work to his advantage. 

Emily Moore

6th grade – St. James Intermediate

She was nominated by her teacher, Tricia Stamp. 

Emily Moore was born in Russia, nine weeks premature, weighing three pounds and 12 ounces.  She spent her first four months in a specialized hospital for premature babies and then was transferred to the “Baby House.”  She met her mother the week after her first birthday, and was adopted in January 2006.  At 14 months old, she could sit and crawl, but she wasn’t walking or talking.  Her diagnoses included developmental delay, right-sided weakness, and esotropia (lazy eye). She had eye surgery at 16 months, three-years-old and five-years-old to correct the muscle weakness that made her eyes cross.  She had tubes in her ears at two-years-old because she wasn’t hearing normally.  She made lots of progress but she still had right sided weakness, so she started in physical and occupational therapy at age three that continued until this year.  Emily has struggled academically since the beginning, but with lots of hard work and extra help she is making progress. The two words that describe Emily as a student are effort and perseverance. Although writing is tedious for her, she never complains. She always wants to learn and understand more about concepts.  Emily is involved in the community. She loves helping others and really enjoyed her job helping the younger kids at Burgess with breakfast last year.  She also had a great time with Girls on the Run. Outside of school, Emily plays piano and sings in the Children’s Choir at St. Michael.  She volunteers with Help 4 Kids and Adopt-a-Highway. She enjoys going out in the boat and tubing and spending time with her friends.  She plans to be a teacher when she grows up.

Emily Moore
Seth Wood

Seth Wood

8th grade – St. James Middle 

He was nominated by his school counselor, Gale Lowery.

Seth Wood is an 8th grader at our school.  He transferred to us during his 6th grade year.  Seth was very frustrated with both his academic and social school experiences thus far.  He frequently lashed out at both teachers and students in his classes.  He reported a lot of previous bullying, which made him very angry and resentful.  He was a student being served in our LD classes.  Throughout the remainder of his 6th grade year, he worked diligently to improve his relationships with peers and to make progress in his academics.  We saw tremendous gains in his relationships with peers.  He volunteered through our Student Council and would stay after school to work on various projects. 

At the beginning of his 7th grade year, we moved him to full self-contained classes.  He started to develop even more self confidence in both academics and in peer relationships.   As a 7th grader, he seemed a lot happier.  One strategy we tried, wa

 

Fredrick Reed, Jr.

6th grade – Ten Oaks Middle

He was nominated by his teacher, Jennifer Tallevast.

Fredrick Neil Reed, Jr. is a lovable, free spirited, renowned student that attends Ten Oaks Middle School. Fredrick was born with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, a rare birth defect of the brain that causes him to be moderate intellectual disabled with seizures. He was also born with a rare eye deformity called Peters Anomaly that affected his right eye, causing it to be removed, making him visually impaired. Since birth, Fredrick has also had a few heart surgeries.  One of Fredrick favorite place to be is at school because he loves to socially interact with peers and staff. He loves working on his IPAD, and is always eager to learn new things. Music is often used as an incentive for him because he loves it so much. Fredrick receives occupational and physical therapy to help with his daily activities, which sometimes is a little challenging for him.  Despite the challenges he faces every day, he is always full of life. He has a very energetic personality that makes him exceptional. Fredrick always greets with a smile or hug and asks, “How you doing today?” He has never met a stranger and everyone who meets him will never forgot him.  In fact, he has an unforgettable heart and warming spirit. Fredrick is truly an example of genuine love.

Fredrick Reed, Jr.
Sarah Japarks

Sarah Japarks

4th grade – Waccamaw Elementary

She was nominated by her school counselor, Hayley Seasor. 

Sarah JaParks is a straight A student in the gifted program.  She keeps her grades up and participates in many activities with a positive attitude despite several hardships.  Sarah’s uncle died shortly before she was born at a young age due to a heart defect.  Last month, she lost her aunt to the same condition.  Recently, Sarah’s mom has been diagnosed with heart troubles as well.  Sarah lives with the fear that she too may face heart problems.  This has only served to make her an advocate for events like, “Jump Rope for Heart.”  Not only does Sarah keep up her grades, but she also participates in the Rubik’s cube club, choir, and is involved in her community church.  Sarah’s bright smile and disposition make her a shining role model to anyone who might be facing adversity in their lives. 

Kyla Badie

3rd grade – Waterway Elementary

She was nominated by her school counselor, Laurie Thomas. 

Kyla Badie has proven herself a leader through scholastic and community achievement, even though her mother’s medical condition contributes to intermittent hospital stays.  In addition, Kyla has three younger brothers (triplets) in kindergarten.  She is a responsible, mature leader in school and at home.  She has a positive attitude and cooperates well with peers, as well as adults, while maintaining a positive attitude.  Kyla is always willing to help others and go the extra mile to get the job done.  Kyla’s teacher, Mr. Stair, mentioned that, “Kyla is a little girl who takes on adult responsibilities better than some adults.”

Kyla Badie
Carroll Smith

Carroll Smith

7th grade – Whittemore Park Middle

She was nominated by her school counselor, Kelley Baxley.

Whittemore Park Middle School is proud to nominate 7th grader, Carroll Smith, as our HTC REEL Kid recipient.  In 2008, at the age of three-years-old, Carroll’s biological mother took Carroll from her father in South Carolina and moved to upstate New York with her new boyfriend and his two sons.  Carroll’s father did not know her location.   Carroll was found wandering in traffic on Route 9 outside a Queensbury motel where she’d been staying. Police said her mother had left Carroll in the care of the two boys, ages 15 and 12, every day for a week.  Carroll had been abused while in the company of the two young sons of her mother’s live-in boyfriend in Warren County, NY.  When Carroll was found, she was wearing nothing but a diaper and t-shirt.  She was brought to the hospital and it was discovered that she had been beaten, abused, and assaulted.  The abuse inflicted on Carroll led to injuries that reportedly included broken bones, hemorrhages in her eyes, places where hair had been pulled out, and bruising from additional assaults.  Carroll was placed in foster care and charges were filed.  While in the hospital, one of her nurses immediately fell in love with Carroll and fostered her.  After quite some time, Carroll’s biological father was notified of her whereabouts and of the abuse. Due to the federal Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, which handles such cases when more than one state is involved, Carroll remained in foster care for two years while DSS and the courts located her father, acquired legal documents, and had several court proceedings.  The process took a lengthy period of time and Carroll remained in foster care for two years.  When Carroll was reunited with her father and stepmother, she moved back to South Carolina. Since entering Horry County Schools as a kindergarten student Carroll has proven her perseverance in many ways.  Her elementary school counselor from Pee Dee, Fiona Martin, stated, “Carroll really began to open up during the spring of her 5th grade year.  She is very kind, a great friend to others, and has a great sense of humor if she lets her guard down. Talk about resilient!”  Now, a 7th grade student at Whittemore Park Middle School, Carroll has shown a tremendous amount of growth and resiliency.  Carroll is a model student in the classroom; she works hard to maintain passing grades, she works well with others, she exceeds expectations in regards to behavior, and goes out of her way to try to make people happy.  She has a huge heart and cares immensely for others’ feelings.  Her social studies teacher, Mr. Morales, describes Carroll as a great kid who often provides him with inspirational quotes that he writes on the board for others to see.  Her ELA teacher, Mrs. Hewitt, describes Carroll as a very hard working student, always striving to do her personal best, asks for help, and always puts in maximum effort in her assignments.  Mrs. Hewitt stated that she is a huge help in the classroom community by always volunteering to collect/distribute materials, helps with morning breakfast, assists peers with assignments, and is also a classroom ambassadors.  On top of being a great student, friend, and helper, Carroll always tries to be as positive as possible in the face of challenges.  It is with great enthusiasm, that we recommend Carroll Smith for the HTC REEL Kid Award.